ISSUE #394

394 - Crop Profitability In 2001


Sugarbeet growers are facing the biggest challenge in nearly 20 years to achieve acceptable profitability this year. Sugar net selling prices are at 20 year lows and cost of crop production and processing are higher. Energy costs are escalating on the farm, for beet transport and in the factory. Nitrogen fertilizer prices are at unprecedented levels. Costs for seed, pesticides, labor and machinery are increasing too. How can shareholders meet these challenges?

“Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent”.

- Nolan Ryan.

This Ag Notes will briefly describe some of the major beet producer challenges ahead in 2001 and ways to meet the challenge. Future Ag Notes will outline in more detail these approaches to reducing costs and increasing net revenue from the 2001 crop. Many opportunities briefly discussed here were explained in detail at NDSU/U of MN grower seminars.

Efficient use of highest cost N fertilizers in history.

Use N in beet tops credits to reduce fertilizer N cost for crops after beets by $5, $10 or $15 per acre.

Reduce present N use by 10 or 20 lbs. per acre to increase crop quality, maintain yields and reduce N fertilizer cost by $3-6/acre.

Maintain yields and reduce phosphorus fertilizer cost. Use a P starter fertilizer and little or no broadcast 18-46-0 to save $3 to $10/acre.
Reduce weed control costs. Use 7 or 11-inch bandsprays of microrates to reduce costs by $10, $20, or even $40/acre.

Substitute use of a rotary hoe or harrowing for herbicides to save at least $5 per acre.

Use a $4/acre layby application of Treflan with the second or third microrate to potentially replace a third or 4th, $10-20/acre microrate application.

Reduce insecticide cost and maintain very good insect control. Reduce insecticide rates by 2 to 6 lbs./acre and save $3 to $9/acre based on NDSU insect forecasts.
Maximize prepile premium payments. Manage prepile acreage for varieties, fertility, and other practices to increase revenue by $10 to $50/acre.
Achieve optimal harvest plant population of 160 beets/100’ of row. Over 40% of the 2000 American Crystal Sugar Company fields had less than 160 beets/100’ of row. Every 10 beets/100’ of row below the target reduces revenue per acre by $20 to $40.

Many shareholders have already taken advantage of one or more of these cost savings or revenue enhancing opportunities. Contact your agriculturist to discuss how to implement some of these production practices in 2001.

Pocket Guides Now Available

The 2001 sugarbeet Production Guides are now available from your agriculturist. They also have the 2000 Sugarbeet Research and Extension Reports. Both publications provide a wealth of information to help enhance profitability of the 2001 crop.